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Monks' Ale - Abbey Beverage Company (Monastery of Christ in the Desert)

Not Rated.
Monks' AleMonks' Ale

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70 Reviews
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Reviews: 70
Hads: 150
rAvg: 3.53
pDev: 13.88%
Wants: 3
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Abbey Beverage Company (Monastery of Christ in the Desert) visit their website
New Mexico, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  5.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Domingo on 04-24-2007

Monks’ Ale is distinctly fruity and spicy. The yeast lends a note of clove and in combination with the malt, hints of plum and apricot. The malt itself provides a honeyish quality up front, a round fullness in the middle, and the hops, together with our pure brewing water, lend a clean, dry finish.

18 IBU
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Reviews: 70 | Hads: 150
Photo of ZenAgnostic
4.41/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tapped into a tulip. The bartender told me it was a Flemish Sour Ale, and so I graded the beer under that (apparently false) assumption.

Appearance - Dark ruby clear body. Tight one finger off-whtie head with great retention and low-decent stick.

Smell - Sour. Tart. Vinegar. Raspberries.

Taste - VERY sweet. Bitter. Metallic finish. Tastes like cranberry and grape juice.

Mouthfeel - Starts out with a clean, very refreshing body. However, the finish is thick and kind of syrupy. It does the opposite of thinning out. Very strange dynamic, but I'm not saying it's a bad thing.

Overall Drinkability - Very good. Very flavorful. Delicious. Can get a little too thick over time, but fortunately the next sip promises to start of refreshing. It's a... viscous cycle. Get it? Haha, I make the best puns. (804 characters)

Photo of Rayek
3.59/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured carefully into one of my favorite glasses, Monks' emerges a slightly hazy orange tinged amber. A small eggshell head falls fairly quickly to a ring a the beer's edge and leaves just a bit of lace.

Monks' is mostly fruity, with pear and green grape. A light clove and pepper spice offsets the sweeter aspects of the beer. A hint of bittersweet toffee, plus a light sourdough note rounds things out. Warming the beer improves things considerably. The light body could stand a bit more carbonation.

According to the brewery's website, the yeast strain comes from Orval, which explains some of the beer's characteristics. Overall, this beer slowly grew on me as it warmed over time. It was a nice pickup. (710 characters)

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.41/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A bright brassy color pour. Clean and clear. White foam seemed to be confused as to settle down or stay. Splotchy, and I like that.

Spice up front on the nose. It's quick and tingly. Biscuit is next, rounded down with some citrus and zest.

Biscuity is the first thought on the taste. Wet dough. Spices break this up and allow the hops to attack the palate. Perhaps attack is too strong of a word, but they are there. Lemon and orange zest. It seems the monks should receive an 'A' for effort, but I think they have some tweaking to do. The flavors are there, just chaotic, imho. (582 characters)

Photo of allforbetterbeer
3.92/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Possible freshness date on label, but it is not clearly marked.

Pours with a slightly cloudy amber/orange body under a finger of white head that rather quickly fades to a thin layer on the surface. This looks rather lackluster compared to an actual Belgian Pale ale from Belgium, but it looks fine for an American version.

Smells of light juicy-sweet hops, light sweet pineapple, and with some swirling, a touch of golden toasted malt.

The taste gives center stage to some bready, yeasty, (and rather rich) malts. These are paired closely with some Belgian yeast notes (slightly phenolic). The hops that were so prevalent in the nose (maybe that was partly yeast?) are subtle here, and they add a small measure of bitterness.

The mouthfeel is smooth and forgiving, with lighter medium body and soft carbonation.

Conclusion: First of all, let me say I really like this beer. It isn't the usual take on a Belgian Pale Ale, and since the Belgians themselves care so little about the mundane idea of "style guidelines" I will choose not to as well when I review a Belgian style beer. This isn't like other Belgian pale ales I have tasted, but it is good and interesting, and thus I like it. (1,215 characters)

Photo of LXIXME
4.36/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an inch or so above the glass leaves a big off white to light tan head that settle into bubbly sort of carbonated lacing or decent worth above a clear coppery to reddish which also seems to have a golden glint to it, very appealing.

A mixed citrus fruit hops aroma with a little something in the background, a light toffee maybe caramel.

A medium bodied beer that has nice mix of sweet caramel malts and citrus hops taste with a very pleasant slightly dry aftertaste.

It seems to me to be very fresh or something, as if this was just sent out recently or if this has been sitting it sits very well.

I was very pleased with this beer, I'm gonna have to grab some more of these for sure. (702 characters)

Photo of cooch69
3.93/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one pours a clear copper with some amber and a small one finger white head.

Nose is'nt that big or exquisite. It features mainly floral hops and a light bisquity maltiness. Tangerines immediatly come to mind as well.

Taste is pretty light, yet satisfying. A straight up sessioner. This beer is Extremly soft in the mouth. The hops are at a pretty low level yet still contrast the maltiness because it is so light and soft.

This beer tastes to me like if an English man tried to create a Belgian Ale. It did'nt really come out according to a particular style, but it still came out pretty awesome. (607 characters)

Photo of Nerudamann
3.08/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into an oversized wine glass.

Look – coppery in color, somewhat murky, with very little foam.

Smell – herbal type of smell, and more malty than hoppy. Hints of some sort of caramel. Maybe even a little on the worty side. Also a little musky.

Taste and Mouthfeel – slightly warming Mouthfeel. Definitely a little musky and sweet. Not a whole lot of bite. Texture is pretty well balanced.

Overall – not a horrible brew. It tastes rather homemade versus specially crafted. Not terribly interesting though. (535 characters)

Photo of ranger7
3.83/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a Sam Adams glass.

A - Pours a very nice golden amber color. A good, white head as well.

S - A light, sweet aroma. Maybe a hint of hops, but not too strong.

T - Good. Overall it's pretty balanced with a bit of a hops note combined with a good, light fruitiness.

M - Not much carbonation, fairly smooth. Not much of an aftertaste.

Summary - Monk's Ale was a really nice surprise. A balanced Belgian Pale Ale that isn't overwhelming, I would definitely have another one. (497 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
3.97/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another interesting beer brought to me courtesy of local trader, tone77.

In my field persona of Brother Woody of the Order of Disorder, I am a Trapped monk, so this ale must be for me.

From the bottle: "made with care and prayer".

My pour resulted in a finger of tawny head with very good retention in the face of today's heat and humidity. Color was an oh-so-slightly hazy orangish-amber. Nose had an almost perfume-like tropical fruitiness with notes of mango and orange. Mouthfeel was fairly full with a mild tropical fruitiness on the tongue. Finish was fruity and refreshing, very pleasant on this hot day. (615 characters)

Photo of awmiller
2.45/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This brew poured up a very hazy apricot-colored body with a minimal head and no lacing (at least in this sampling). Citrus-y scents waft about immediately upon opening and plenty of hops as well. Lots of fruity flavors (mostly apple) and citrus-y flavors as well. There's just a tad bit of sweetness in the background but lots of hops hits you right off the bat. Not too much, not too little. (392 characters)

Photo of Coplains
3.33/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up on a trip to Santa Fe. Pours amber with very faint haze moderate carbonation. Somewhat Belgian in style. This beer drinks pretty smooth but
No attributes stick out. Like the story of the monks in the monastery making it, would buy again if in Santa Fe but wouldn't seek it out (287 characters)

Photo of corby112
2.23/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a cloudy, bright goldn orange/tangerine color with a one finger yellowish off white head that quickly settles into a thin ring. Not much in the way of lacing.

Slightly earthy and spicy aroma with faint hints of light and citrus fruit. Some floral, piney hops countered by pale malt, pepper and orange peel. All of these characterisitics are minimal and the nose of this beer is pretty bland.

Thin bodied and kind of watered down with some grassy hops and zesty spice up front that linger over the pale malts and subtle fruit notes into a dry finish. Hints of apple and orange peel as well as some booze toward the finish. Again, as in the aroma, it's a bit of a stretch to pull these flavors out even after the beer warms. Mediocre and not very interesting. I was excited when I first heard about this brewery but Monk's Ale was a disappointment. Hopefully their other offerings are an improvement. (906 characters)

Photo of tone77
3.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Has a deep golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is somewhat sweet and fruity. Taste also has some fruit notes, a slight sweetness and a touch of spice. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer. (252 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
2.48/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Beer is amber and clear with a thin white head with mild carbonation and some lacing looks fine.

Aroma is mildly sweet and almost smoky. What the fuck...

Beer is straight disgusting. Tastes like cigarette butts. Drain pour. Never again. Grainy harsh finish. Totally gross. (274 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.35/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Monk's Cafe, which seems an appropriate place to try this beer.

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a hazy amber color capped by a finger's worth of foam; a few sheets and a number of shards of lace are left behind

Smell: Light fruits and herbal elements combine along with a hint of toffee

Taste: Toffee malt, up front, with a developing light fruit flavor; hoppy bitterness adds balance, by mid-palate and although the hop bill is Germanic, they taste more English in style; there is a peppery yeast character that arrives, after the swallow, but the finish tilts toward the sweeter malt flavors

Mouthfeel: Very Belgian, with a light to medium body and a soft carbonation

Overall: A really nice hybrid beer, with elements from all of the major brewing traditions combined in a sessionable ale (809 characters)

Photo of meeekyh
4.05/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I heard about this beer from me friend in the retail beer business. He didn't recommend it but said it had been requested. I figured that trying it would be a good idea as it is Friday and I can.

I got a single 12oz brown bottle with an attractive label depicting a stained-glass-window and am pouring into a St. Bernardus chalice.

There is no indication of either style or ABV so I will be reviewing this one in a vacuum and not according to style guidelines.

The beer is a pale orange with a slight haze and a head that is tiny and light tan. Lacing is small and head dissipates quickly.

Smells are subtle and clean at the 45 degrees it came out of the fridge. I will give it some time as I am inclined that the ale deserves it. - Maybe a hint of orange-peel and violet...

The taste is lightly sweet, tart and only very slightly bitter. There are hints of dried fruits and a pronounced grainy/grassy flavor at the end.

Mouthfeel is smoothly full with a bit of sharp carbonation and a lingering, dry finish.

This is a winner of a beer. It is full and clean and refreshing and really just plain great beer. I can't remember the price but it is well below many of the other craft beers on the market today and outshines many.

Slainte! (1,242 characters)

Photo of Haybeerman
3.84/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Slightly hazy orange/amber color. Poured a 3 finger off-white head with good retention to a 1 finger cap. Lightly decanted. Sticky webs of lacing all the way to the end.

S: Yeast esters; light-colored fruits. Mild clove and pepper spices.

T: Sweet malt character up front. Transitions quickly to fruity yeast esters; banana and green apple. Clove taste comes to bear ahead of a mild, building finish of pepper and lemon rind.

M: Light to medium body; a little bigger than I expected. Moderate carbonation. Really nice balance of sweet fruit in the finish.

O: Solid representation of the style. Flavorful, smooth and balanced in both taste and feel. (655 characters)

Photo of Pellinore1
3.72/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours cloudy orange, producing less than a finger of nearly white head. This fades quickly, leaving little just a bit of lacing.

Smells a bit sweet and fruity, and reminds me of tart apples.

I taste light malt, some sweet fruity notes as in the smell, and and bit of breadiness. The finish is clean and crisp, and the flavors do not linger long.

Light to medium-bodied, with some nice carbonation, this is pretty pleasant on the tongue.

An enjoyable brew overall, with excellent drinkability. I poured this a little cold, and notice definite improvement as it warms. (570 characters)

Photo of emmasdad
3.31/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Picked this one up as part of recent mixed six pack, having never heard of the brewery. Poured an attractive golden-amber color with a finger of off-white head on top. Aromas of raisins, baking spices and yeast. Medium bodied, with flavors of Belgian spices, light malt and yeast. (280 characters)

Photo of zdk9
3.08/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Pours a hazy medium orange with a possible green tinge. A full finger of head develops. So far the lacing is strong, and fairly thick.

S- The aroma is sweet. My first impression is corn but that happily wafted away after a second. My second impression was candy- bubblegum. There's some sweeter malt- fake honey, orange slice candies. And there's also a bit of plastic.

T- The taste is better, not amazing but certainly quaffable. Corn and straw mingle along with white bread covered in the lightest of toasted flax and rye seeds. If I try I can detect some yeast characteristic, but it's faint at best.

M- Fine here, goes down fairly lightly and quickly.

O- Not the best beer, but not the worst either. The taste is inoffensive enough for me to enjoy drinking. I'm looking forward to what an American Abbey brewery can do with some more time and experience- it certainly is a unique venture. (899 characters)

Photo of allengarvin
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Val Dieu chalice, this beer is a lightly hazy orange-tinted amber with a small, quickly fading head. The nose is lightly fruity with an underlying hint of spice.Fairly fruity yeast character, though not particularly Belgian-tasting, with sweet malt. Hop bitterness is moderate, though there's not much hop flavor; the bitterness does keep the finish from being very sweet, though.

Not Belgian in character... though maybe it's not supposed to be. It is very drinkable, though. Worth buying again, perhaps. (521 characters)

Photo of mattgreger
3.72/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured a very solid, dark amber color. It had a very nice, but thin and bubbly white head that capped right at the top of the snifter that I poured it into. Head lasted a moment or two then faded, but the brew did leave a have decent lacing as I drank it.

The aroma on this brew is pretty good. Not quite sure what I am smelling. It definatly has some fruits and maybe a dab of honey. It also has bit of a lemon and pepper aroma that the finish after it sat for a moment or two.

Taste on this brew was pretty good. Its very much like the aroma. The fruit flavors hit you at the front of this brew. Within the taste I can detect what I think is some sweet peaches and apricots, then a bit of the sweet honey that smelled in the aroma as well. This was followed by the other aromas as well. There was a nice peppery, lemon hops.

Mouthful on this brew had a medium, to almost heavy body. Almost a chewiness. It has a nice carbonation that wakes it all up and gives it a nice, smooth feel as you drink. Its balanced well with sweet fruit flavors and the dry lemon and peppery hops.

Drinks decently well, not the most impressive brew in the style, but has a great texture and is a nice smooth drink. Can't find any info on the ABV, but it doesn't have a big bite, so one could have a few of these and still enjoy it. I am looking forward to trying the Monk's Wit. (1,375 characters)

Photo of TheSupremeAJ
2.96/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One bottle of a mix-a-six from Abe's of Bethlehem, PA purchased 12/1/10. There is 0810 printed on the bottle, possibly indicative it was brewed in 8/10. Poured into a St. Bernadus chalice @ 55 deg F.

a- Very very clear. Little to no head. Absolutely no yeasties or settling in the bottle. Very nice amber color. It's almost as if they let too much of the yeast ferment out when they were brewing the beer.

s- Boozey beligan yeast scent. Fruity esters present. Not very strong scent... I really had to swirl it around and almost submerge my nose to smell it.

t- Very sweet and inoffensive. It was a little unpleasant around the edges... almost like they used an adjunct of some sort. For some odd reason I had a flashback of being in college and drinking Natty Ice. I get a few green apple notes and a sour taste.

m- Properly carbonated. No issues here. It may be from the 4-months of age or the very clear color...

d- Very easy to drink and does not burn or taste like alcohol.

I think this may be a good starter Belgian beer as a stepping stone from mass-produced swill but other than that its really not worth it. It you like Bud Light, Coors Light, or Miller Lite, do yourself a favor at your wedding and splurge on this fancy shit. Nice shiny bottles to boot. (1,270 characters)

Photo of Deuane
4.1/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Slightly hazed copper kissed golden yellow with a medium bright white head reduced to a thin cap and left attractive decorative lace.

S-Lightly sweet biscuit malt with pleasant notes of apple/pear and a rather sharp zing of dank, earthy hops.

T-Pleasant fruity notes up front with apple and pear being dominate with lightly hints of citrus rind in the background. Biscuit malt sweetness adds a pronounced bready profile and adds balance. This one is very unassertive and unassuming yet very enjoyable and interesting at the same time.

M-Medium-light bodied and rather sharp with lingering fruit notes and hop bitterness.

D-A simple, yet enjoyable and highly drinkable brew. I can see why the monks that make beers such as this keep it for themselves to power through their day! Possessing a low ABV with enough flavour to keep things interesting this is a brew that is easy to enjoy. (889 characters)

Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From beernews.org: It's along the lines of the beers Trappist breweries produce for the monks themselves to drink but don't sell commercially (such as Westmalle Extra and Chimay Doree). A 1.052 (13 degrees Plato) beer, it's 4.7% abv and 16 IBUs. The grain bill included two-row pale, honey malt and aromatic malt, and Monk's Ale was hopped with Hallertauer, Styrian Goldings and Czech Saaz.(Brew Like a Monk Sept. 25, 2005)

The Monastery of Christ in the Desert, Abiquiu, New Mexico, U.S.A., was founded in 1964 by Fr. Aelred Wall, OSB, with monks of Mount Saviour Monastery in New York state. In 1983 the Monastery of Christ in the Desert was received into the English Province of the Subiaco Congregation as a Conventual Priory and in 1996 became an autonomous abbey.

On-tap at Monk's Café.

Pours a hazy yellow-golden color with a one-finger bright white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of light malts with crisp medium fruits - pears mostly - and moderate amounts of earthy hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Neutral light malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by smooth and light medium fruit flavors. Slight amounts of breadiness work their way into things midway through the sip, as do earthy and light citrus hop flavors. The hops carry through to a crisp and mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a smooth thickness with active carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I had no problems finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall this was a solid beer for the style, it didn't try and do too much. A simple and fairly drinkable beer that's worth a shot. (1,670 characters)

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Monks' Ale from Abbey Beverage Company (Monastery of Christ in the Desert)
81 out of 100 based on 70 ratings.